Congress Agrees To Fund $1.1 Billion To Combat Zika

Congress Agrees To Fund $1.1 Billion To Combat Zika

After nearly seven months of bickering and finger-pointing, Congress on Wednesday agreed to allocate $1.1 billion to help fight the spread and effects of the Zika virus.

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September 29, 2016
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After nearly seven months of bickering and finger-pointing, Congress on Wednesday agreed to allocate $1.1 billion to help fight the spread and effects of the Zika virus, NPR reported.

The deal is part of a broader agreement to continue to fund the government after the fiscal year ends on Friday and the current budget expires.

It brings to an end a partisan fight that has had the unusual effect of delaying funding to deal with what all sides agree is a public health emergency. The delay came out because of disagreement over side issues like funding for Planned Parenthood and whether the money should be considered "emergency" spending.

Wednesday's deal drops language barring the money from going to Planned Parenthood clinics. The Senate passed the measure Wednesday; it is pending in the House.

The deal reached in Congress includes $394 million to help control Zika-carrying mosquitoes and another $397 million to help develop a vaccine against the virus and better tests to help diagnose cases of Zika.

There is also $66 million allocated to health care for people affected by Zika in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.

President Obama asked for $1.9 billion in emergency federal funding back in February to fight Zika. The administration has been using money shifted from other accounts, including money that had been specified for studying and fighting Ebola, and for state-level emergency preparedness, to address the Zika threat.

Source: NPR

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